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Germany

Suicide Attack Against German Soldiers Kills Afghan Civilian

A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle near a convoy of NATO-led German soldiers in northern Afghanistan Monday, killing himself and a civilian, but causing no casualties among the soldiers, police said.

A memorial service for the dead German soldier in Kabul

After a service in Kabul, the dead German soldier was honored in Germany Monday

The bomber detonated the explosives before reaching a convoy of German soldiers on the Shirkhan Bandar road, north of Kunduz city, in the province of the same name, on Monday morning, Abdul Rahman Aqtash, security chief of the provincial police department, told DPA news agency.

"The bomber was torn to pieces in the blast, but there were no casualties among the German soldiers," Aqtash said, adding that only the two feet of the bomber remained on the scene. The rest of his body was "badly amputated."

He said that one passer-by civilian was wounded in the attack and later succumbed to his injuries in the provincial hospital.

NATO-led forces in the region also confirmed the explosion, but could not say if it was caused by a suicide attack. The military spokesman confirmed that no one was hurt in the convoy.

Taliban claim responsibility

Taliban militants, meanwhile, claimed in a statement posted on their Web site that one of their fighters, identified only as Samaiullah, carried out the attack, killing 11 German soldiers and wounding several others.

The statement said that two of German tanks were also destroyed in the vehicle-borne suicide attack.

The attack came six days after a German soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in the same province.

On Friday German soldiers opened fire on a civilian vehicle after the driver failed to stop at a checkpoint outside of Kunduz city, killing two children and a woman.

Mandate expansion

Germany's government is to decide in early October on whether to extend the army's mandate in Afghanistan as security has worsened with the increase of roadside bombings.

Parliament is to be asked to consider a proposal to increase the maximum deployment from 3,000 troops, who now serve under the UN-mandated mission of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to 4,500. ISAF has around 53,000 troops from 40 countries deployed to the country after ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.

More than 3,500 people -- mostly insurgents but including about 1,000 civilians as well as more 180 international soldiers -- have been killed so far this year, according to figures provided by Afghan and foreign military sources.

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